Advantage branded content: Lodestar UM’s ace card

With movies such as Cocktail, Student of the year and Talaash in 2012, Lodestar UM has exploited the tremendous power of branded content

e4m by Synjini Nandi
Updated: Dec 11, 2012 6:49 PM
Advantage branded content: Lodestar UM’s ace card

Today brand associations have become a significant part of the movie marketing process. Though the tie-up of brands with movies is not an entirely new concept, the treatment given today has surely undergone a sea change from its humble beginnings. Lodestar UM has been focusing quite a lot on this disciple with different initiatives for movies such as ‘Cocktail’, ‘Student of the year’ and ‘Talaash’ in 2012.

With movies being an important part of people’s lives, brands today are leaving no stone unturned trying to leverage their identity and creating a brand connect. For an agency, playing the branded content card provides an entry point as well as leads to a cementing of relationship with the brand in question.

Tracing the evolution of movies from just an entertainment medium to one of the sought after platforms for brands today, Dhruv Jha, GM, Content and Experiences, Lodestar UM stated, “Movies saw a revival after the advent of the multiplex culture. Some time back people had stopped going for movies, which is somewhat similar to radio, which saw a comeback after FM. Today movies are creating conversations and connecting people like never before. This is the reason why brands today are using it as a platform to relate to the target consumers.”

Among the initiatives undertaken by Lodestar UM in this particular domain is the association of South African Tourism with the movie ‘Cocktail’, association of Tata Motors with ‘Student of the year’ and the recent tie-up of Windows 8  with ‘Talaash’.

Brands and movies: The ubiquitous knot
Jha believes that cinema as a medium needs to be leveraged. When both, movies and brands start realising that there is a market for consistent strategy to have a successful association for both, they will start experimenting with the entire concept.

Stressing on the significance of consistency for brands, Jha stated, “It’s not about come and go. James bond movies have always associated with different cars such as Jaguars, Land Rovers, etc. If there is a movie franchise, then we need to find out if we can get a brand that is associated with the same so that we can create a brand recall through different movie franchises as well. It is a very relatable platform and a great way to enter people’s lives but at the same time we should ensure that we don’t over do it. It should be subtly and smartly done.”

There are also certain key points which are essential while associating a particular movie with a brand. Jha believes that the associations should be contextual in nature. For example, the movie ‘Student of the year’ was a youth movie and hence the association was with youth-related brands. An apt positioning of the brands is necessary in order for an association to happen seamlessly.

“Lodestar goes for it in a holistic manner, context and create a complete surround. We had earlier facilitated the association of ‘Ghajini’ with Van Heusen. We need to make the brand look good as well. If one goes about these associations properly, then they would be able to leverage the medium in the true sense,” added Jha.

Elaborating on the challenges, Jha said that getting a brand to relate to a movie and getting both to meet is one of the key challenges. Also, the selection of brands needs to be in accordance with the positioning of the movie and its target viewers. The whole process involves a lot of detailing and needs coordination for the association to work out seamlessly.

Promoting branded content
There is a need for innovative and interesting promotional activities to be undertaken on the different media platforms to leverage such associations. For example, the 10-day TVC campaign for ‘Cocktail’ was aired across channels such as MTV, Channel V, ETC, Zing, Star Movies, HBO and NDTV Good Times. The 'Nano Student of the Year' contest was further amplified by Lodestar UM across youth touch-points such as youth TV channels, customised radio contests across seven cities, online contests and promotion through social media. The contest was also popularised at youth hangouts such as Café Coffee Day.

Commenting on the same, Jha stated, “It is very important to do a cross platform promotion. For Talaash, we invited people to come for a demo at the stores and based on contests held, were presented with the opportunity to meet Aamir Khan. This would work for both, the people coming for the demo and the brand.”

With the evolution of audience tastes today, branded content is attaining a significant position in the overall movie marketing process. Cinema as a platform has a large reach and high recall value which is making brands associations very popular or rather a ‘must-do’.

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